In an effort to deepen knowledge and understanding of the Public Finance Management issues, Oxfam Malawi on Wednesday organized a one-day training for journalists to enable them to acquire knowledge and skills for reporting on budget, public finance management and public expenditure.
Oxfam Malawi Communications Manager Daud Kayisi, who opened the one-day training that took place at Sunbird Livingstonia Beach Hotel in Salima, said his organization recognizes the role journalists play in preventing preventing or minimising theft of public resources.
Kayisi said this is why the organization periodically engages journalists in refresher training to deepen understanding and knowledge of public finance management among reporters.
Speaking to scribes after the training, training facilitator and Director of Specialized Audit at the National Authorising Office (NAO), Charles Maseya, deplored the tendency by Controlling Officers in government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to defy advice from the Auditor General’s Office.
Maseya said this hampers efforts by the Office of the Auditor General to improve efficiency in public auditing.
“Where there is a need for advice from the Auditor General’s Office to the Controlling Officers, it is provided at any time during the audit and ex-briefing. Where the Controlling Officer is not clear, they have a chance to seek clarification. The aim of the audit is to make sure we are providing assurance to the public on accountability and transparency issues,” he said.
“But what is surprising is that despite giving the advice, audit queries keep recurring every year. Of course, the Controlling Officers are better placed to tell the public why this is the case,” added Maseya.
However, Oxfam Malawi Public Resource Governance Coordinator, Chisomo Manthalu, expressed satisfaction with the gains the consortium has made in increasing coverage on public finance management in Malawi.
Manthalu observed that journalists have demonstrated commitment to exposing rot in MDAs thereby helping to prevent or minimize theft of public funds.